Sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. That's certainly the case with the story Wendy Moore tells in How to Create a Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor and His Quest to Train the Ideal Mate. Moore combines engaging storytelling with exhaustive and impressive research as she brings to life the misadventures of the eighteenth-century gentleman Thomas Day.
Day, who was born in 1748 in London, was in many ways both a product of and a reaction to the prevailing forces of his day. Although he certainly took to heart (almost to a fault, as we'll see) the social and philosophical questions prevalent and popular at the time, he was also resistant to many of the eighteenth century's highly codified norms of appearance and behavior. One of his friends, Richard Edgeworth, remarked that "Mr. Day's exterior was not at that time prepossessing, he seldom combed his raven locks...
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